Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/380

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

second may reveal greater defiance than the first. Speech is the expression of feeling, and feeling is best aroused through the hearing. Here is a means of cultivation cut off from the deaf. Can the education of the eye ever become sufficiently developed to atone for the loss in this direction? Most certainly not. The diversion made by hearing a remark, a laugh, a song, or a musical instrument has oftentimes prevented a quarrel, dissipated a worry, or broken a willful determination. The deaf are deprived of this means of receiving a fresh turn to thought, and this fact should be borne in mind when it is noticed that their disposition is not to give up a plan once adopted.

What the deaf may become if untaught is not an agreeable picture to face. Some idea may be formed by recalling that they were classed among the idiotic in the years they were neglected and deemed unworthy of efforts to educate. Here is a child, bright, healthy, and active, with an avenue to his brain obstructed. Reasoning from limited knowledge gathered by his observations alone, he misunderstands many efforts to do well by him. He is conscious of lack of communication with others; in a little while he may be morose and unhappy. Give him the speech he knows not, and the language that is to him a sealed book. With care during the first years it is possible to develop an agreeable voice. It would be wrong to claim it can become always musical or perfectly natural; just as wrong is it to assert that some voices happen to be good, some acquire peculiar tricks for which there is no remedy, or that it is right to be satisfied with any vocal efforts obtained. The exhaled breath pushing its way between the edges of the glottis becomes voice. If poor, it must be so from incorrect action of the edges; if good, from correct action. The teacher who understands how to secure the proper working of this delicate instrument can give the pupil a good voice. Speech is related to the affections more than to the intellect. The prompting of the actions of the vocal organs comes from the stirring of some emotion. If the intensity is great, cool judgment has no influence upon the voice unless long experience has developed self-control; if fear or timidity is felt, results are noticeable immediately. The deaf child's happy state is therefore absolutely the first essential for securing a warm or affectionate tone; next, his thoughts must be thrown out away from himself to enable the organs to act without tension. It is for this reason we are not impressed with the wisdom of educating the touch of the finger tips to feel the vibrations of the vocal cords, believing as we do that such a method by centering attention upon the throat, a part of the pupil's body, prevents the developing of pure, resonant tones.

The voice formed in the larynx is molded into the numerous vowels by various shapes assumed by tongue, lips, and soft palate,